In his novel, which is known to be the greatest novel of the 19th century, Leo Tolstoy says "there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts." This quote I find to be the best line in the whole novel. It's been 138 years since he published that book and still, I think everyone needs to pay attention to his words.
My opinion of the novel itself is a different story, but the truth is, this quote is perfect. No two people are the same and no two hearts are the same. Now, if you've read any of my novels then you'll know that I have no issue with same sex relationships. I believe anyone of any colour, gender, race should be allowed to love whomever they choose. Just because their love looks different than yours, doesn't make it any less real.
I'd also like to take his quote one step further and refurbish it. I believe there are as many kinds of genders as there are genitals. I know, this is a bit far fetched, but hear me out.
A big influence in my work is the idea of how gender stereotypes impact younger people. I know for me, when I was growing up there was an increasing amount of pressure to discard my own interests and pursue those that "men" are supposed to pursue. This means playing sports, being funny, not having any fear and chasing women.
This divide between genders I believe is as detrimental if not more than the exclusion of certain types of love. I know for me I was given an ultimatum. It was indirectly forced onto me but eventually I was the one forcing it onto myself. The ultimatum was: be a stereotypical guy - play sports, act tough and ignore your emotions. The other side of it was: play music, be who you want to be and go through life happy - non popular - man.
At the time, the first choice seemed more lucrative but now looking back I know I would have been better off had I followed the latter choice. If I had the power to go back, would I change it? no. Even though I took a route that led to unhappiness, it made me who I am today and if I didn't follow that route I probably wouldn't be writing this blog right now.
I kind of went all over the place today but I want to end on this: I realize that it makes us feel better when we can categorize things. We say "this is how love is supposed to look" or "this is how a woman acts" or whatever but the fact of the matter is that these expectations and rules only lead to unhealthy results. Sure they may work for the average person (numerically) but what about the young boy who doesn't want to tell his parents or friends that he's attracted to other boys?
And what about the person who was born with a set of genitals and doesn't feel right in their body. I can tell you what happens to them. Right now, they internalize the pressure and don't feel at home in their bodies. It causes them too much pain and they look for a way out. Sadly enough, the easiest way out is death. Youth in the LGBTQ Community are 4-6 times more likely to commit suicide than those who identify as heterosexual.
So, if you know anyone who isn't like you, think for a second, how would you feel if everyone was like them and you were the minority.